In which players start realising that making gold on the WoW AH is ultimately pointless

This is an eloquent goodbye post from Caffeine, Smokes and Auction House Fees. He writes about his journey as a player from getting interested in making gold in game to maxing out his gold reserves, and the anticlimax of realising he has nothing to spend all that gold on.

Summary for those who don’t want to read spammy Meat Loaf lyrics (look, I like Bat out of Hell as much as the next person but that doesn’t mean I want to read entire songs in blog posts.) He’s finished all his goals in WoW, which included maxing out his gold via auction house antics, and is quitting blogging about gold.

I don’t know how long a million gold will last me, but I don’t see myself being a pauper in the near future and until then I will be living off my stockpiles of mats and when that fails my gold. I hope that eventually I learn to be frivolous.

I’ll answer that question. A million gold will last all of your alts for longer than your entire future interest in the game. Well done, you’ve made more WoW gold than you could feasibly ever spend. But did you make any friends along the way, or only auction house rivals?

From comments on the post from players who have similarly made lots of gold and then gotten bored, you can see though where all the interest in gold DKP runs (where you bid for raid drops with gold) comes from. Players who have convinced themselves that the reason they make gold in game is because they’re just that much smarter than everyone else can’t bear to think that it’s a pointless endeavour. So they start inventing schemes that reward gold-makers, rather than player skill at combat. (GDKP starts to fail when the boosters don’t feel that they need the gold enough to put up with the paying newbies/ alts, incidentally.)

This is not to disrespect making gold as an in game activity. In many ways it is very egalitarian – there are many many different ways to make gold in MMOs and surely some will suit every playing style.

However this does underline a comment I made in a previous post which was that I didn’t understand why more AH junkies in WoW didn’t want to try EVE.  EVE Online is a far better and deeper economic simulation, and devs also reward those who do well at the economic game by allowing players to swap in game cash for subscription fees. So if you’re good at the markets, you can play for free.

And yet people prefer to stay with the game where they have market expertise and know exactly what sells and who buys, even when they have no need for the gold at all. But what if Blizzard decided that economic play was something they wanted to encourage, and that there should be cool but extremely expensive stuff for them to buy – for example, what if you could buy a guild house for 1 million gold?

Should WoW offer better rewards for gold makers?

The problem with offering better rewards for in game currency without requiring players to complete content is that it lures in gold farmers and gold sellers. And when I say gold farmers, I also mean account stealers.

There isn’t a good way around this other than policing gold sellers/ buyers carefully or limiting gold supplies in some way which would require even the gold farmers to play in a productive way. And the horse has bolted on the latter because even moderately casual players likely now have large gold reserves in WoW.

But aside from that, assume that there is a hypothetical way to confirm that a player got their gold legitimately by playing/ trading in game.  What if there was a whole subset of endgame which cost large amounts of gold to enter? The housing example I gave earlier might be a good one — a guild could pool together to buy a house, or a rich individual could have one of their own.

Whatever it was would need to have lots of fancy stuff to show off. We assume people with gold want people to know about it, and that means showy luxury items and ‘exciting’ shopping experiences. And yet not everyone with the drive to make gold has a similar drive to spend it. Perhaps instead what they’d want is better market-related tools — banks of NPC crafters maybe, or sell orders, or the ability to set up their own shops in capital cities and design their own goods.  But that just unbalances the market even further in their favour without really setting up a proper gold sink.

Or maybe something really offbeat like being able to pay WoW gold for improved access to developers.

You sometimes have to wonder, is this where capitalism ends too? Once people in the ultra rich class simply run out of things to buy and just keep going out of habit?

I still think there’s a lot to be said for my suggestion of resetting the gold supply after every expansion. Think of it as an inheritance tax 😉

I was right, incidentally

I don’t mean to rag on Breevok, who sounds as though he’s been through an emotional time.

But actually gold in WoW ceased to have much meaning awhile ago. I have about 40k on Spinks and I’m not even sure how – yes I occasionally sell things on the auction house but not in an organised way. I don’t even know if I can be bothered to make some of the new 365 weapons and sell those, even though she’s a blacksmith and has the recipes. I don’t need the gold. And the gold I have isn’t going to go anywhere. Why not? Well, it’s basically because I have friends and a nice social guild and there aren’t many goldsinks in WoW, and even the ones there are will ease off over time. I didn’t have to actually pay much gold for my 365 two-handed sword, I’m not the person in the market for the finished article although I did buy some of the mats.

Anyhow, I called this one back in January and suggested that if gold was reset with every expansion, it might keep economic players more interested.

Gathering gold is the only thing you can do in WoW which – so far – has been guaranteed to carry over into the next expansion. <…> Since tradeskills aren’t balanced for cash making, all this means is that anyone who leaped on a gold making scheme in one expansion may never have to worry about gold again.

Nice for them, maybe. But is it good for the game?

Which is why it’s so funny that all these so-called goblins are so quick to label more chilled out players as morons and slackers and idiots and stupid people.

50 thoughts on “In which players start realising that making gold on the WoW AH is ultimately pointless

  1. Gold-making entertained me a bit longer than any of the other end-game options in WoW.

    I do play EVE, now and again. The reason I don’t do so all the time is that it hasn’t got the community that I know – or knew – in WoW, and that’s more attractive.

    But I don’t see it as any more pointless than arenas, raiding, or any of the other end-games; in any of them, you get to a point where there’s nothing more you can do but wait until some form of reset comes along. It’s a weakness of the theme park game style; there’s a point where you’ve been on all the rides.

    • > My point was that in gold making there is no reset.

      – Vanity items don’t reset. You keep your no longer obtainable pet from the china Olympics and your raid achievement drake.
      – Your old T3 wasn’t removed with TBC and you can still use it on kill shots
      – Achievements aren’t reset, they might even become feats
      – Social connections aren’t reset, which is the true value of a raid

      If you argue to reset gold for every expansion you should also remove all items including items like pets, mounts, your show-off-raid-achievement-drake mount, your old T-set you use to show that you had a full set back then and so on. Clear out all Achievements. And probably put everyone on a random realm to reset social connections.

      Gold is not the only thing that keeps some value into the next expansion, unless your gearscore is all that counts for you. (And I know that’s not the case with you.)

      • I think the main difference is though, that gold IS very different in terms of impact and how it affects other, new players who start off in an expansion. It doesn’t exactly matter to a new player’s experience if others have their old tiers, minipets and achievements; it DOES affect him a lot having to start off in an economy where others have hoarded thousands of gold and prepared for the next expansion and he’s starting at zero.

        So if you wanted an expansion to truly be a fresh start where everyone starts off at the same point without such advantages, gold reset makes sense.

      • Sure, but a new player who starts 3 month into an expansion has the same problem. Then you should probably also reset gold for every new tier.

        And how is that different from the new player who starts to raid? It’s not that easy to find a raid if you have no experience.

        I don’t see why gold should be reset (and we’re neglecting inflation) but not everything. A WoW 2.0 with a full character reset would be one thing but doing it only partially doesn’t make sense to me.

      • Syl: the inflation that comes with time also benefits new players, or players rolling on new servers. It used to be that earning enough money to get your higher level riding skills was a big task. Now, low level mats sell for so much that a new player can easily earn this money, just by taking some gathering skills.

  2. You obviously never had to supply an entire raid guild. Pots, Fish Feasts, Flasks etc costs a lot. And I don’t even want to talk about BoE epics at the start of each tier.

    Our guild spent ~300k in the first weeks of 4.2. And it’s just a 10m raid.

    • Well no, I’ve always been in guilds where it was assumed that people could supply themselves 😉 If a guild is supplying you with consumables and repair costs then you have even less of a gold sink.

  3. I did pretty much what you talked about there at the end. I got into the glyph market pretty heavily during early Wrath, and racked up a decent pile of gold. Once I realised I had more than enough I just stopped playing the AH game.

    A good two years and a change of mains (with all the bills that entails) later and I still have more than enough.

  4. Well, apart from the notion of starting over with a new character, which I’ve done a few times.

    But there being no reset, to my mind, doesn’t make the pursuit MORE pointless. If anything, it means that all the other end-game styles are pointless, while this one retains some value from expansion to expansion.

  5. I don’t think an MMO like WoW should offer anything in terms of goldmaker rewards – it’s not an economy/finance sim game now, is it? while you ‘can’ make money in every MMO, I consider players with that one and only intention of playing a bit of a “freak accident”, really. the game is not exactly made for that kind of thing which is, as you pointed out too, all the more amusing when you hear someone brag about his goldmaking and being smart, when it’s actually easy to make gold in WoW. there’s no science involved, most people simply don’t do it because erm, they don’t WANT to do it. what’s the point?

    I never bothered with the AH; I always had enough gold without even trying much. everything above ‘enough’ is just an artifical, self-created challenge by people who take the fun in MMORPGs from somewhere entirely different than most players. and I concur: if that’s what your looking for, why on earth play WoW? (I could speculate now, but it wouldn’t be so flattering).

    • “People who take the fun in MMORPGs from somewhere entirely different than most players.”

      So… what’s wrong with that?

      Role-players, explorers, lore-hounds, dedicated PvPers, economic players, and crafters are all minorities in WoW, who take the fun from somewhere else than most players.

      It would, I think, be an astoundingly dull game if everyone focussed on the raid end-game.

      • I didn’t say anything was “wrong” with that, did I?
        What I fail to see is why you wouldn’t choose a game that simply offers a lot more in terms of playing the economy and means of investment. It must be horribly dull to accumulate gold in WoW?

        You’re of course free to play it in whatever way you please. However, for reasons Spinks already mentioned, I am not a fan of the idea that MMOs such as WoW try and cater more to this particularly small audience, simply because of all the negative side-effects that potentially causes for the rest. since you mention PVP/RP – these have their own dedicated servers, so people can actually choose whether that’s how they’d like to play. WoW’s no money game and while you ‘can’ play it for this reason to some extent, I’m pretty certain most people don’t want to and are actually happy that gold plays such small/easy a role in WoW.

      • I agree with you, and actually I think the economic game is one of the most interesting sides of a MMO (and particularly WoW), partly because there are so many ways to make money ranging from daily quests, hardcore AH glyph botting, or figuring ways to sell items from older expansions (eg. dark iron bars).

        It’s particularly interesting to some players because you do get a sense of being able to profit out of being smart and using superior knowledge (eg. I remember making a good profit on buying cheap greenies with fire resist back in vanilla and selling them to MC raiders because non-raiders wouldn’t know how important the resist gear was.) I don’t think that excuses the utterly snotty tone some of these gold bloggers take, because it ain’t really that smart to use a strategy and addons that someone else thought up and put in a few hours a day in order to reach a gold cap you don’t actually need, but hey 🙂

        The economy is also probably the most likely part of the game to spawn emergent gameplay, and the hardest to test properly in beta and on test servers.

        And yet in all of this, it’s the part of WoW which is still less supported by Blizzard (except to step in and nerf when anything gets too crazy). In fact, Blizzard have fairly explicitly made it easier to get gold and put in fewer useful gold sinks. (eg. fast flying).

        So now players have found winning strategies that let them max their gold… but it’s less important to the game than it ever has been before.

  6. I think you miss the importance of people who play the auction house. They are the ones who keep the entire player base supplied with gems, enchants, potions etc. Sure you can always find players to supply these goods but without the competition to drive down prices your 40k wouldn’t last long and your gameplay would be reduced to spamming trade with looking for trade suppliers.

    How to make the economy interesting? Reduce the amount of gold players get from drops and remove gold from the dailies. The flood of gold makes the game less enjoyable and makes people stupid. This is different from the reset in that players would have to live within a budget continously.

    With regard the gold making reset it wouldn’t work as gold would be transfered into other assets before the reset and then realised after. This happens at the moment as a soft reset exists through inflationary pressure that each expansion brings.

    ‘so-called goblins are so quick to label more chilled out players as morons and slackers and idiots and stupid people’ – I prefer the word customers 🙂

    • Oh I agree that people who play the market are important to the economy, but it isn’t true that my gameplay would be consumed by spamming trade if they didn’t exist. I’d get crafters in my guild to do stuff for me, and would pay them in kind. That’s pretty much how we used to do things before auction houses — there was trade channel spam but a lot of the trade went on in guild.

      And your suggestions about how to make the economy more interesting basically are to make it more EVE like (in EVE the only money and goods entering the economy are from player related gathering, crafting, and transactions.)

    • Another thing that the gold accumulators do is act as de facto gold sinks. By keeping gold in their accounts, rather than circulating in the economy, they are reducing prices (by reducing the effective money supply.) Really, they are acting as public benefactors, producing useful goods and being compensated for with shiny electrons they don’t spend.

      Ultimately, of course, they will leave the game, and if they dump their gold back into the market, that is when inflation will pick up.

  7. I find it odd that money is this worthless in WoW once you rise above the convenience level of being able to buy flasks etc. at will. There isn’t even a huge inflation (barring expansions, which ARE a sort of reset for the money game as well.) Money simply isn’t very important, which in turn makes being rich rather lame. I might just write abut this…

    • Speaking for myself, one of Wow’s greatest achievements was that money wasn’t such a PITA as in all other MMOs I had played before. it let’s you enjoy and focus on actual content. I never found money an effective way to create challenge in this particular genre. it’s dull and boring and many of the thus created obstacles simply make ‘no sense’ in terms of game flow.

      It was a huge relief to lose the money-grind aspect in WoW (I had played lots of japanese MMOs before…plain horrid). and if you think Blizzard, they will never try and alienate their mainstream audience by making money a big concern in WoW; that would be completely against everything else they are doing (and overdoing in places).

      • I have to agree with you, Syl – if Blizzard reset gold with every expansion, I’d probably cancel. I solved the money problem once and don’t want to have to do it again.

        But this points out a deeper, more fundamental issue with WoW expansion resets – are they good for the game? Is it that gold should be reset like everything else, or that everything else should carry over from one expansion to the next? Should raiding gear in one tier be useful in other tiers?

        I know that the endgame is inherently grindy, even more so in Cataclysm than in previous expansions. And at some point, you wake up to the grind and go – I’m not doing this anymore. The payoff is not worth the time investment. It doesn’t get me what I want, it’s not fun, whatever it is.

        I get bored with the AH a lot. Like Spinks, I have enough to live comfortably. My alts become self-sufficient quickly. I play the AH out of habit more than out of a desire to win, make more than I spend, so I don’t have to worry about it. It’s boring, and I take a lot of breaks.

        My playtime has become very limited of late. It’s bad enough when a grind unexpectedly pops up, like the Vicious gear grind. That grind, doing something I honestly enjoy, has been enough to kill my enthusiasm for endgame PvP.

        It’s an interesting thought experiment to consider how WoW could be restructured so that once you achieve a goal or level of power on your character, you maintain it – but still encourage people to collect and progress.

  8. I agree that some ‘goblins’ are too quick to label other players as lazy & morons but when I can make money selling stuff that is sold by a vendor 30 yds from the AH, I think that counts as either lazy, stupid or inexperienced.

    I also think you’re missing one point that many goldmakers (including myself) are, for one reason or another, not raiders or group players. For me, my long time in-game friendships imploded along with my guild. I knew nothing else & found myself hanging around a lot. I made a bit of cash & stumbled across gold blogs & that was it, I’d found something that I could do without my by now ex-friends.

    You also say we are quick to label ‘more chilled out players’ – as someone who got to 85 on main alt within 2 weeks of cataclysm launching, then spent 2hrs or more in a random ‘normal’ dungeon being bitched at because I hadn’t done it 20 times already & didn’t know tactics – I don’t think those were very chilled out players.

    Syl said that a player having raid titles/achieves/minipets etc doesn’t affect the new players – I beg to differ on that. We have 2 new to wow players in guild. They’ve got to 85 but they know almost nothing about raiding etiquettes/rules etc, they just know they want to have a go but without any previous knowledge/achieves etc, they can’t even get into an ICC pug group. So guess what they are doing at the moment? Yup – making gold ‘cos someone suggested they buy their way into a pug group to get experience & achieve!

    As for the trying Eve online thing – I’m hooked on this one already – making gold is just one aspect & I happen to spend a lot of my time doing other stuffs too. I really don’t need another addiction for my list! 🙂

    • I think how new players get into raiding is very server dependent. For example, I’m on a RP server and I’ve never seen GDKP runs for lower tier raids advertised. But we do have a channel for retro raids who’ll happily take anyone over level 80 to the older raids every week. Also a lot of our more social guilds will train their own raiders, I know we do. PUG raids to me are not somewhere friendly that will teach newer players how to raid.

      It looks to me as though you’re saying that on your server, the capitalists won and so the only way to even get into the game is to play the AH. To me, that’s a bit of a shame — it’s like being told you have to PvP for ages before you’re allowed to raid.

  9. I agree with Syl, that the way the AH is so open to both endgame stalwarts and fresh 85’s to buy goods is what makes the game ultimately fairer for all. partially this is due to an entire economy based on consumed goods, ie gems, glyphs, flasks etc. And the presence of user based gold sinks, is also absolutely important for maintaining desire and consumption for higher order goods.

    The problem with EVE is threefold, first is insane tiering of costs versus reward values so work is undervalued, second is that obtaining manufacturing materials is unfeasible for single players, the third problem, of sheer volumes require a guild and multiple agents, who would have tenure/trust issues with newer players. The ultimate problem of EVE is that you can’t game the system unless you game other players’s efforts as your own, due to the poor rewards of the system being doled out. It’s what makes the trillion ISK thefts reoccurring, and the competition over resources razor close to outright theft, exploitation and social engineering as opposed to skill based competition or relative rewards.

    While EVE does get a lot more fun in zero sec and exploration, the schema of it’s economics is based on limitations of the game itself to provide a distinct and increasing scale of resources as opposed to a capped resource allocation. It’s important to keep players occupied as well, when it takes months to acquire BPCs or build new ships or gather ice, etc to fuel them, etc. So if all it takes is Sitting outside Jita gates waiting for traders to gate out, then that’s cheaper than working or skulking around/camping out/scanning/mining for new areas to cash in on.

    EVE is fun for those with patience or a desire to feed on others, but it gets boring rather quickly without the drive or the resources to drive others. The economic treadmill in space is quite apparent when you deal with people, who are also on the same treadmill and enjoying it, or, not, as the case may be with the original AH blogger’s perils of finding ennui within the confines of an unchanging world

  10. That was kinda my conclusion. You had people bragging about making all this gold but, in all honesty, what exactly are they buying with it?

    Maybe in Vanilla it mattered when gold represented your ability to buy such wonders as flasks for your tanks and thousands of resist and healing and buff potions and sharpening stones and chimareon chops and BoE resist gear and so on. But at this point, with Dragon fests and cauldrons and all that other crap and maybe one pot a fight, what exactly are you doing with it? Gold is, apart from a very small window at the start of a tier when you can buy the BoE’s to get a leg, kind of useless past, say, about 10k gold,

    Perhaps the most interesting thing about the goblin blogs was that they started emerging around the time gold had become both easy to get hold of and not particuarly valuable in game. Weirdly around the point when it changed from ‘I had to grind for hours in Northshire and raid to get all this gold now I can have expert riding, a powerful and useful skill ‘ to ‘Well, I can exploit this kind of obvious in game quirk of supply and emand to become vastly wealthy to..get this mammoth I guess’. That money started being a symbol of prestige around the point where it lost the virtues that made it something worth having.

    • > what exactly are they buying with it?

      Peace of mind. I’m not a rich player by many measures, but at any day or time I have the liquid funds to buy overpriced gems (or use some from my stockpile), buy a crafted shield for my new alt, or pay for riding skills on an alt. I have the funds to buy a stack of the requisite flavor of flasks (since I don’t want to be rude and ask the guild alchemist to make me cauldrons for free), to wipe all night on new content without saying, “I can’t afford this”. I don’t enjoy dailies – though I know they’re lucrative, so this is my money supply.

      Granted, I’m a miser. I bitch about buying overpriced crap on the AH, but having that slush fund ensures that I never have to *worry* about it. In contrast, one of my best friends often feels that he “can’t afford” things. He spends on top-line gems and enchants for his gear, but then stresses over repairs, and doesn’t feel like he can feed and clothe his alts.

      A good slush fund lets me enjoy playing the game, without feeling like I have to do “chores”. Somehow, despite it taking time in similar fashion, milling herbs or posting stuff on the AH doesn’t annoy me the way dailies do.

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  12. Spinks, how is this in comparison to making gold in RIFT? Or is RIFT dynamics are such that this is not really an important factor? I know it has crafting and mat gathering similar to WoW…so I am just curious about this.

    And I concur, I’ve always made enough gold on AH in WoW for my characters to get by, especially when leveling. But I never made my main priority. Most of my gold now for endgame content comes from completing quests, including Dailies. Thus I am oft slow to maxing my professions because of this..accept for the ones that are really needed, such as Alchemy currently.

    • Lemme think about this. I never really figured out the trick of making money in Rift, I know vaguely what sells and materials mostly do fine. You can often sell collectible items as well, and the blue ones in particular sell quite well.

      On the other hand, I never needed a lot of money for anything and I seem to have managed to make enough gold to buy my regular and fast mount without much strain. So I don’t really feel I have a handle on gold making in Rift yet.

  13. Not to be too pithy, but I’d suggest that chasing bigger numbers in general is ultimately pointless. The play’s the thing, not so much the end goal. At least, in my mind.

    As such, I actually quite like that money is largely pointless in WoW. It’s another metric to chase if you want to (and it can be fun, certainly), but it’s not necessary. That, to me, seems like good design.

  14. The WoW auction house sucks more’n a Booty Bay whoor. Ya cain’t see what items self fer, ya cain’t see how often items sell, ya cain’t place buy orders, ya cain’t place multiple orders, ya drops off items there but ya picks’em up out at the mailbox, ya cain’t do multiple transactionizings at once, the deposit fees is unrelated ta what an item actuallies be worth, yadda, yadda, yadda. Ya gets way better service in some bronze-age bazaar. Sheeit, I gets better service if’n I uses the app on me phone. Is a pathetic disgrace, and were clearly tacked onta the game in about ten minutes by peoples what new bugger-all about how a real market works.

    So. If’n ya installs the right add-ons, and visits the right web sites, and keeps the right records, and be willings fer ta do a buncha no-risk menial labor, ya can regularlies double, triple, tentuple yer gold. And if’n ya don’t, ya can ends up payin’ 2k fer some relisigitotem what onlies cost 400 ta make and thinkin’ ya got a deal. Some glubberfubbers think what this system makes’em Big Swingin’ Dicks, when reality be what they’s just the ones what gives a fuhg about a simple game, and they’d get eatens alive if they tried ta play fer real in bond trading or orange juice futures.

    Me? I plays the AH sometimes – enoughs fer ta git some heirlooms and 280 flyin’ fer everyone on the team – but I’d happily trade the easy gold fer the ability ta say “I want a Hardened Imposibilium Jockstrap and I will pay X gold fer it” without havin’ ta git lucky and catch the right guy lookin’ at trade chat at the right time.

    • “were clearly tacked onta the game in about ten minutes by peoples what new bugger-all about how a real market works.”

      If I remember right, it was actually based/ inspired on an addon that someone wrote in beta. Blizzard weren’t originally planning to have an auction house at all.

  15. However this does underline a comment I made in a previous post which was that I didn’t understand why more AH junkies in WoW didn’t want to try EVE. EVE Online is a far better and deeper economic simulation, and devs also reward those who do well at the economic game by allowing players to swap in game cash for subscription fees. So if you’re good at the markets, you can play for free.

    EVE is not a game I would ever want to play, even for free. Why would any economic-minded person want to a play a game that A) allows other people to literally destroy your entire wealth at nearly any time in even high-sec space, and B) can also be achieved by simply spending $100?

    No, the reason I became an AH goblin was because I was having fun in WoW, and discovered I could have even more fun by trading non-fun activities (e.g. dailies) for fun ones (looting gold from mailbox). The problem is that looting gold from the AH is essentially taking the dressed-up Skinner Box that is WoW and, well, undressing it. Once you run out of things to buy that has more value than the value that comes from looting gold from the mailbox, you have to invent a valuable goal, e.g. hitting 1 million gold, etc. Invented goals are much less satisfying when you realize they will never be recognized by anyone other than yourself; nevermind that the underlying activity is only “fun” in the same sense masturbation is fun: it produces pleasant sensations, but has no lasting consequences or progress.

    Moreover, once you have changed your mindset to gold-accumulation, it is damn near impossible to “deprogram” yourself. Back before my guild imploded, we would do a lot of intra-guild trading, etc, but I always knew how much value I was getting or giving away. I stopped asking people to craft things for me because what I realized was that I really wanted to sell the crafted thing on the AH, and it was hardly fair of me to essentially “exploit” that guildie by not cutting them in on the profit. So I made alts and covered every profession myself, to never be at the mercy of whether Bob logged on if I wanted my crafted BoE right now. I have not logged onto WoW in five days, which might not seem like a lot, but 322 days /played over 4 years breaks down into an average of ~5 hours/day, every day, for the past four years. Even in this weening process, I still check the AH remotely from my iPod, in the off-chance there is a 378 BoE for a good price on the AH. Not because I would buy that 378 to use on a character (haven’t logged on, remember?), but because I react to that stimuli favorably. Seeing a good deal on the AH feels the same as finding $10 laying in the street. Only… I imagine most people don’t pick up that $10 and then go around searching all the streets in a 1-mile radius afterward.

    So, ironically, you suggesting EVE for WoW goblins is probably the equivalent of suggesting crack to cocaine addicts. Players like myself will never be able to look at the WoW AH in the same way, or likely ANY game with a functioning AH. I doubt WoW’s structure caused this dysfunction (at least intentionally) anymore than alcohol causes alcoholism – some people are more susceptible to addiction than others.

    It could be worse, of course. I could be one of those players grinding out 35 days worth of Firelands dailies for gear ultimately unnecessary to play the game. 😛

    • I’m not sure about recommending EVE to WoW AH players being like recommending crack to addicts really. I think of it more as “well, if you like this side of this game, you might really enjoy this other game that has a better implementation.” eg. If you like Plants vs Zombies, you might like other tower defence games — that sort of thing.

      Ultiumately, if you think you are getting your sub worth then GLHF(good luck, have fun).

      I also don’t think that playing the economic game is necessarily deconstructing the skinner box, unless you choose to then value every other part of the game in terms of gold. Now personally I don’t value gaming fun in terms of in game gold, and I think that’s quite an unusual angle to take. But you’re right in that it does explain a lot of ‘goblin’ behaviour.

  16. Interestingly enough, FFXI requires you to spend money to access some end game content, such as Dynamis. People would pool enough Gil to buy an Hourglass (was 1 Million Gil, apparently is now 500k). You’d use the Hourglass to create copies for your party members, and everyone could enter the dungeon with a copy of this Hourglass. The Hourglass had a timer on it which is based off the initial purchase of the Hourglass, and one that time was up, you’d get kicked out of the area.

  17. The whole point of farming the AH for money is that when you have some money sitting around (a few hundred k’s), you can ignore a lot of the annoying/repetitive activities (= farming). Want to level a profession? Go at the AH, buy all you need, it’s done. A BoE drop doesn’t drop? Go and buy it.
    And apart from the fact that AH farming is more interesting than herb farming (or mining), it is also incredibly more efficient, i.e. you can spend more time doing stuff you want to do instead of stuff you need to do.

    • Not sure what your point is? I think you’ve done a great job with your guild. But I really don’t get the obsession with pointless achievements, I don’t understand why you spent so much gold and time on chasing them, and I’m happy that my guild doesn’t.

      My gametime would not be happier if I was being whipped through instances so my guild could get some dumb cheese. But it’s nice that you found some people who don’t mind.

      I just don’t feel it matters whether my guild hits level 25 now or later. That’s not the measure of a good guild, merely one which does many activities that Blizzard chooses to reward. For example, a RP guild wouldn’t be getting guild xp or achievements for roleplaying sessions, but that doesn’t mean players might not enjoy them. A friendly guild won’t get xp or achievements for friendly guild chat but it’s still important to some people.

      • I know I’s just a simple orc, but I totally see the bugger’s point. He’s sayin’ what ’bout all ya can do with several hundred thousand golds is fer ta blow it gettin’ an achievement what nobody gives a damn about anyhow. Gold-cappin’ do ultimately be pointless.

  18. “A million gold will last all of your alts for longer than your entire future interest in the game.”

    Actually, you CAN spend a million gold very easily. Let’s do the math.

    When BOT and BWD were the hottest thing, 359 BOEs from there were selling for 20-30k on the AH.

    When 4.2 launched and Firelands came out, 378 BOES were–are still on some servers, including mine–selling for 60k apiece. 365 crafted BOES are 20k-30k. Living embers are about 10k on the AH, so that’s 40k for the embers + mats + the recipe to craft a single item.

    How do you spend a million gold? Just buy 10 of those 378 BOEs. That’s barely enough for 2 characters.

    And I don’t even want to think what heights the BOE prices will escalate to in 4.3.

    • *Buy 20, not 10. My typing skills fail.

      In case that seems like plenty to last someone a while, keep in mind that someone who buys BOEs in 4.2 will also want to do the same in 4.3 when better gear comes along.

    • Or, ta saves time, transfers all yer gold ta one character, then delete that character. Is a difference between “spending” moneys and “blowing” moneys.

      • While effectively similar for the player looking to divest themselves of gold, a nicer thing to do might be to set up a “gearing up lowbies” fund. Every night, go to low level zones (say 10-15?) and give newer characters money to train riding (+flying), and four 22-slot bags. Perhaps even have a set of some of the crafted items that leveling toons might want, and offer those as well. Think about how many people you could do this for in an evening.

  19. I smiled as the irony of the past 20 minutes hits me. I write an au revoir post due to, in part, lack of the recognition that accumulating gold gives you in game. I then discover a comment from Gevlon and a whole post from Spinks relating to that post. Two years and finally they both notice me!

    To correct a few points – I’ve not finished my goals in WoW. I’m still playing, in fact we have another attempt on Shannox (normal) shortly. What I have stopped is writing about gold making, because I dont feel I have anything left to say which is new or exciting. Writing for the sake of writing is never a good idea.

    Since I signed off I’ve spent around 20k. And trust me I’ve been trying. Valor bracers for my priest for 9k. Bargain! The guy was asking 12k, but I refused to pay. So the deprogramming is a work in progress.

    Spinks – apologies for the cliches – but the AH is the 5th secondary profession. Like archaelogy or fishing, it is not everyones to everyones taste, but it is a profession open to every troll, dwarf and draenai in the game. However, unlike every other profession, there are no acheivement points which can be gained through it.

    This has always been rather confusing to me. We get awarded for looting x gold from y dead bodies – yet unlike other achievement arcs, such as companion pets, we receive nothing for overall wealth milestones.

    Many argue achievements for gold cap would encourage gold sellers and associated criminal activities. Maybe it would, but gold can buy you other achievements already so I dont know what makes this any different. The chopper and Vial of the Sands are just two such examples, but there are many many others which can be easily achieved with a whack of cash.

    And honestly I think that is all it would take – because people like achievements. And titles. You see them every day – why are people running Heroic LK still? Why are Black Temple runs so popular? For the kudos of the title? For the chance of the useless legendary? Yes, recognition is extremely important in WoW – even for the likes of Gevlon who posts day after day screaming “Looki At Me!” at the top of his fingertips.

    But like anything in WoW eventually gold losing its meaning – its mana to use the maori term. Hardcore raiders eventually move into something else (I see a lot of them now casually raiding – serious about it but still casual with likeminded individuals), or PvPing or leaving the game entirely. Goblins are no different.

    So like the ex-hardcore raiders, I now consider myself an ex-hardcore goblin. I will find new things to entertain me in game, and when the game stops entertaining I’ll float off to whatever next catches my fancy.

    I enjoy writing. The blog will be relaunched when I work out what else I can write about to a standard I expect of myself. And quite possibly the gold posts may start again further into the future if and when I feel I have something new to say.

    My emotions are fine, I’m fine. I’m just changing my destination.

    • Just for the record, I do try to keep up with as many well written blogs as I have time for, especially written by players with a strong voice who play in a very different way to the way I do. Just sometimes when the playing style is very different, I don’t really have much to comment.

      Glad to hear you’re planning to keep blogging and good luck with the relaunch.

  20. “However this does underline a comment I made in a previous post which was that I didn’t understand why more AH junkies in WoW didn’t want to try EVE. EVE Online is a far better and deeper economic simulation, and devs also reward those who do well at the economic game by allowing players to swap in game cash for subscription fees. So if you’re good at the markets, you can play for free.

    And yet people prefer to stay with the game where they have market expertise and know exactly what sells and who buys, even when they have no need for the gold at all. …”

    I don’t understand why you ask why more AH junkies in WoW don’t want to try EVE. More than what? Do you really have any idea how many AH junkies there are in each game, and how many of those have switched between the two games? If not, aren’t you basically waving your hands and talking nonsense in these two paragraphs?

    The fact that EVE is a deeper and more interesting economic simulation is the only reasonable thing you said here. Nothing else in these two paragraphs even resembles an attempt at a factual statement, or anything that could reasonably be inferred from facts you laid out. As far as I or anyone could tell from your post, you read a bunch of blogs about WoW, and then wondered why they aren’t playing EVE. Well, it’s because you read WoW blogs, not EVE blogs. I’d love to believe that your thought process was other than this, but nothing in your post indicates that it was.

    If you did have some solid numbers about WoW ah junkies vs. EVE ah junkies, I would probably reply something about how people prefer to play MMO’s with friends, and WoW has much larger sub numbers, so people stick with their friends in WoW, etc etc. Since you don’t have any numbers, or other standard through which your post could reasonably be interpreted in an objective way, that reply is unnecessary.

    • Whilst I value your evidence based approach, more just means more players than currently switch from one game to the other, and it’s based on the vast WoW gold/ AH blog sphere, of whom very very few have ever discussed switching that I have read. Now, you may want to see hard numbers but from a qualitative point of view, I’m intrigued that a community of players who clearly have a strong interest in playing an economic game don’t seem attracted to a game which offers a deeper and better implemented economy.

      (Incidentally, qualitative research is still research and even interviewing a small number of people/ reading a sample of blogs can offer useful information if they’re roughly representative.)

      For sure, there will be other reasons such as social networks or preferring the gameplay outside the economic sphere (for people who like PvE/ PvP as well as money making) but ‘goblins’ don’t tend to value social ties and actually do often switch servers just for the fun of starting again from scratch. I’d say it’s more likely that EVE has a terrible UI and is actively unfriendly to new players in many ways. But it’s still an interesting question to ask, because the WoW AH crowd is pretty large (likely several thousand players at the very least) and the game itself doesn’t really cater to hardcore economic players by offering extra challenges/ rewards at that level.

      • I’m goldcapped in WoW, I enjoy EVE but my friends all play WoW, so I end up putting more time into WoW–as my first post implied.

        Yes, there’s a large gold/AH blogsphere. Look at the best/earliest posters–gevlon, markco, stokpile, khaas. 2 of them still play WoW, although gevlon doesn’t post about goldmaking anymore.A bunch of copycats have formed, but most of them seem more interested in attempting to monetize their blogs than in writing anything interesting. So perhaps what you see as a perplexing growth in goldblogging, I see as the gradual death through monetization/burnout. This makes the latest real money auction announcement from Diablo3 somehow appropriate.

  21. There were a number of questions either implicitly or explicitly asked in this article and in the comments. I’m not exactly a “goblin” but sitting on around 200k (on my main server) and can generate about 5k per day if I bother posting auctions.

    1) Why would I want this kind of gold? Basically to so I can do what I enjoy in this game.
    – I hate farming. Knowing how to make gold and having gold prevents me from having to do that.
    – Dailies annoy the heck out of me and I will never do ones I don’t have to (I did grind argent tourney because I loved the charger mount).
    – I don’t really enjoy being forced to interact with other people because blizzard wants me to. I bought a level 25 guild with tons of achievements so I can have somewhere to park all my toons without the pressure of crafting things for random strangers, showing up to pointless meetings on vent, running people through dungeons I don’t care about, etc. I’m sure some people enjoy these things, but I don’t. Gold allows me to get the benefits of the perks without the hassles (I keep guild chat off, but I do run a “invite anyone who isn’t guilded” addon… there are about 500 people in the guild now, cash flow = 4k-6k per week for me. No hassle, complete control, and free income!)
    – I have all the convenience (i.e. traveller’s mammoth for my level 40 rogue for poison vendor and repair bot whenever) that I can buy without having to stress (why anyone would use 150% flying longer than they have to is beyond me)
    – Hire people to do whatever I need. If there is some activity that can be sped up by having help, I can get it. Gold allows me to skip the things in game I don’t like and just do the things I do Iike.

    2) Why are people without gold “morons and slackers”? This is a tricky one. I don’t think everyone without gold is a moron or slacker, but there are a decent number that are. Assuming everyone spends time to get gold, you are wasting time when you are wasting gold. Thus, when I see from my bean counter that I have made over 50k gold since cata (I reset my bean counter at 4.1) on VENDOR items (ones that can be found in major cities, not the obscure BC ones that require a 10 minute flight) I can only conclude there are a lot of morons out there. I know not everyone who is low on gold is that way because they spend poorly, but seeing what I sell tells me there are quite a few people low on gold simply because they don’t think.

    3) Should the gold be reset each expansion? Well, to some extent it is reset. In vanilla anyone with 1000g+ was filthy rich. In BC if anyone had 25,000g+ they were a tycoon. In wrath, the rich were 50,000g+ toons, and in cata, it seems you’re only rich for 400k+. There has been such a steep in game inflation because of the quest reward/gold sink regulation, that it is obvious blizzard is encouraging inflation. This inflation acts as a soft reset to the gold each expansion.

    For me, the game isn’t about all about gold, but I see it as a means to the end of playing the way I want. I love to pvp, I hate people (‘cept for in small groups like arena where I can choose people I can count on), not a fan of repetitive activities, etc. It seems blizzard tries to push me to do the exact opposite of all these things (pve being required for pvp, being social for guild required for perks, RBGS needed to cap PVP points each week, etc). As long as I have plenty of gold I can buy my way out of doing this things I dislike.

    Oh, and there is something really awesome about collecting a mailbox filled with 193 sold auctions too 🙂

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